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Kafka Confronts Nature And A Bird

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In my novel, Kafka In The Castle, I follow a couple of years of Kafka’s life through diary entries. He was very interested in wildlife, though not too happy if it intruded into his own.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

30 September 1917

There was a knocking at the window this morning. A polite and concise rap rap rap. It awoke me while the room was barely light.

Who could want me so early? And then again, an insistent rap rap rap. I was confused, wondering where I was. The panic of Prague weighted down the covers, and I was sorry I had opened my eyes. The room, the smells – even the bed – was not familiar, so I was both bothered and assured by the strangeness.

When I realized I was not in Prague – for who could knock on my third floor window – I remembered I was in Zurau, where things were different. Here my window looked onto a yard, and anyone could  be at it. Was there something wrong? Was Ottla after my help? I even wondered, as I searched for my slippers, if her young man had somehow arranged leave from the army, and after much travail had managed to reach the wrong room. I could understand that very well.

I walked hesitantly over to the window, and cautiously pulled back the curtain. Such a commotion ensued that I stepped back in some fright. A bird flew immediately past the glass, its wings frantic as it screeched in agitation. It had been perched on my window ledge, pecking away at the frame. Ottla says it may have been after insects or grubs settled in for the winter.

“Insects in the walls of the house?” I asked.  “Yes.” She was quite matter-of-fact.  “It is a warm place for them during the cold months.”  I was not inclined to argue with the logic, but neither had I thought I would be existing in such close proximity with the tenants of nature.

Houses for warmth and bugs for food. It is a blend of the base and the subtle which I can appreciate. Much – I like to think – as does the annoyed bird.

(Image) https://sweetbellavita.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/img_6492.jpg

I Am A Sophisticated Friday Night Drunk

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(Some New Brunswick Friday entertainment)

 

It is a Friday night
In New Brunswick.
There are Friday nights
In old Brunswick,
They are called
Freitag Nacht.
 
 
In New Brunswick (perhaps of old),
The guys and gals
Got drunk,
And ate well,
To celebrate
The weekend.
 
 
Steaks and beer,
(Maybe fish & chips),
As long as one was
Well-oiled
To slide into Saturday.
 
 
But I am a
Sophisticated
New Brunswick
Drunk
 
 
Though
Perhaps not
Refined.
 
 
With my steak
(and fries),
I have red wine.
Red red wine
Though – admittedly –
From a box.
 
 
But it is
High-toned
Red red wine
(In a box),
Imported
From Australia.
 
 
Where they also know
How to eat steak,
And let ‘er rip
On a Friday night.
 
~ D.E. BA U.E.

Eats On The Menu From Heaven

good20eats

 

Bernard’s Bartibog Bridge Bistro
Has hearty Baloney Bouillabaisse
And other, fine
Experimental cuisine.
 

Dare one speak of eggs
Deviled
Yet
So Heavenly?
 
 
Cherished Cashew Chowder
A nut
And a Tusk
Entree to Paradise?
 
 
Frothy frankfurter frappé
Crunchy ice crystals
And a hint of
Condensed milk.
 
 
Tuesday Treat
Tufted Titmouse Tourtière
Feather light
And airy.
 
 
Blue Fin Tuna
Blue Plate Special
Blue Sea fresh
Blew me away.
 
 
Vibrant Velvety Vichyssoise
Leeking its rich taste
Into crème de la crème
So cold it’s hot.
 
 
Succulent Seaweed Soufflé
Dulse Vita Maritime
Ripped from the rocks
Of a Grand Manan shore.
 
 
Pickled Peach Pie
I Scream Ice Cream
Delightful dessert
“Will that be to go?”

A Meal From History: Beef Stew Tonight

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There is beef stew tonight
 
Done in the slow cooker.
 
S L O W
 
Which
 
(Admittedly}
 
Is Not Historic.
 
But
 
The stew itself:
 
There is so much beef …
 
(How much?)
 
So many cubes of beef
 
That
 
There isn’t any room for the potatoes.
 
No spuds
 
Nary a pomme de terre.
 
Onions – of course.
 
Carrots – why, yes.
 
And turnip
 
Rutabaga
 
R U T A B A G A
 
(I luvs the word because
It really looks like what it is
A true root vegetable that
You have to hack apart).
 
All bubble bubble
(but no trouble)
Together in its
Slow Cooker
Which isn’t really
Historic
But I do think
“Cauldron”.
 
And then
 
Speaking of “Cauldron”
 
This bubble bubble
(but no trouble)
Stew
Is going to be served
 
On buttered heels
 
From numerous loaves,
Of bread.
 
Trencherman fare upon
 
Sopping sops.
 
[Should I tell
How Heavenly it
Smells
Upon
Entering the kitchen?]
 
Why – yes! – I should.
 
Surely ale should
Accompany this stew!
 
But
 
What about redred
 
Wine?

Then Came Each Actor Upon His Ass

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Then Came Each Actor Upon His Ass

And it was good.

So very good.

And each had food

Unto itself

And unto himself

The feedbag was full

The groaning board groaned

The drink was abundant

The water trough quenched

The wine barrel quenched

And it was good

And so the first day passed.

 

Eat The Elderly And Not The Rich

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[Swift]

 

Save them for later.
Now, hear me out, because I’ve been thinking about this.
First, some full disclosure. I, myself, aspire some day to make $5M, so that is my starting point on “rich”. I don’t begrudge anyone having $5,000,000. A pleasant, round number, which most people will still have to strive for. And – all things being equal – someone with $5M isn’t really causing much corruption and destruction to the earth. Leave them alone. They buy stuff. They give big tips.
But, anyone above $5M – well, they’re, er, fair game. Get out you bows and arrows.

Now, everyone is worried about the Economy. Not the earth we live on, and not the myriad types of life that exist upon it. “Money makes the world go round”, as is sung in Cabaret. But money (and homo sapiens sapiens love for it) makes the World die. Bye-bye. It was fun while it lasted.
However, why not wed two practical ideas (one very popular at the moment) and save the Earth two fold, by getting rid of the elderly and the rich? The Elderly are sucking the life out of the Earth, taking resources and giving little back. Sure, they are the ones who made the prosperity in the first place, but their time has come. Let the species survive. Get them out on those ice flows while there are still ice flows.
Instead of crematoria just getting rid of the Elderly bodies, adjust them to a lower flame and, only figuratively fry them up. It can be a new twist on “aged” meat. Spicing optional.
And then, when a taste for a human delicacy has been honed, turn to the rich. They are well fed, generally in good physical shape, and already nicely-flavoured from their extravagant life style. Succulent suppers all around, with plenty left over for hearty stews Red wine or white at the discretion of discerning diners.

Yes, this is a modest proposal.

Spaghetti Before The Storm

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I was going to make spaghetti for the weekend but an ‘end of the world’ freezing rain storm is (literally) on the horizon, so …

Spaghetti tonight.

And since I did not have enough spaghetti noodles (nor redred wine) I had to brave the mean little snow flakes that felt as if they were cutting my face, and get both.

Happily, all the other ingredients were already in place, and the process began.

Two cans of prepared tomato sauce (with roasted garlic). Two large onions. Two stalks of celery. Five cloves of garlic. Chop everything that is to be chopped, with no piece larger than your thumbnail. Put them into the pot of prepared sauce. Put on low heat.

Take as much lean hamburger as you think is healthy (I stop at a kilogram/two pounds). Put some of the chopped garlic and onion in a frying pan with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Cook them up until the kitchen smells wonderful. Add the hamburger. Let it all cook as you stir them up. Stop when the meat is brown.

Add the meat to the pot. I never drain. And a half cup of whatever wine you are going to drink with the spaghetti.  And two tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Add a quarter teaspoon of sugar. Bring to a bubbling boil while stirring. Reduce heat and simmer for two hours, stirring a few times per half hour.

Pour on cooked spaghetti noodles.

Sprinkle on an outlandish amount of Parmesan cheese

Drink a glass or two of the wine.

My father, who helped liberate Italy in the Second World War, told of the time he was invited  into a farmhouse to share a meal. Spaghetti sauce was simmering away in a cauldron in a fireplace. He was told that same sauce had been simmering for decades.

[image] https:/cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2015/02/01/16/23/pot-619785_640.jpg

Kafka And A Hungry Bird Give Thanks

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[Franz Kafka and his sister, Ottla.]

In my novel, Kafka In The Castle, I fill in the many diary entries Franz Kafka either did not make, or destroyed after the fact. He would have made no references to an actual ‘Thanksgiving Day’, but I feel this is close enough.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

30 September 1917

There was a knocking at the window this morning. A polite and concise rap rap rap. It awoke me while the room was barely light.

Who could want me so early? And then again, an insistent rap rap rap. I was confused, wondering where I was. The panic of Prague weighted down the covers, and I was sorry I had opened my eyes. The room, the smells – even the bed – was not familiar, so I was both bothered and assured by the strangeness.

When I realized I was not in Prague – for who could knock on my third floor window – I remembered I was in Zurau, where things were different. Here my window looked onto a yard, and anyone could  be at it. Was there something wrong? Was Ottla after my help? I even wondered, as I searched for my slippers, if her young man had somehow arranged leave from the army, and after much travail had managed to reach the wrong room. I could understand that very well.

I walked hesitantly over to the window, and cautiously pulled back the curtain. Such a commotion ensued that I stepped back in some fright. A bird flew immediately past the glass, its wings frantic as it screeched in agitation. It had been perched on my window ledge, pecking away at the frame. Ottla says it may have been after insects or grubs settled in for the winter.

“Insects in the walls of the house?” I asked.  “Yes.” She was quite matter-of-fact.  “It is a warm place for them during the cold months.”  I was not inclined to argue with the logic, but neither had I thought I would be existing in such close proximity with the tenants of nature.

Houses for warmth and bugs for food. It is a blend of the base and the subtle which I can appreciate. Much – I like to think – as does the annoyed bird.

The Moose of October Get Hunted and Killed

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On a recent bus trip through the forests and hills and valleys, which offered kilometres of burgeoning Fall colours, and many other delightful distant scenes, this wee incident happened at a bus stop.

 

The bus went into a small village because a couple were getting off. The bus stop is in a parking lot of a Mall, beside a Tim Horton’s (I think).
Anyway, as the couple got off, a heavy-duty Ford pick-up drove in beside the bus. Attached to the truck was a a longish metal open-bed trailer. On the trailer was a deceased female moose. Perhaps it was too big to drape over the hood of the truck. This was a commonplace occurrence in the days of my youth. Or are those days long gone?

Buddy with the moose pulled up beside the Liquor Store.

Out he gets and walks with purpose into that fine establishment.

Intones the bus driver:

“There you have the perfect combination. A dead moose and a bottle of rum to celebrate.”

[Image] https://photos.travelblog.org/Photos/127380/421162/f/4082807-Female-Moose-Cow-0.jpg

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